Please use this discussion to offer your suggestions for Core Conversations to be hosted here on the Cafe website and on our Cafe Calls.  We suggest you consider framing a topic in terms of a "powerful question."  This monograph by Eric Vogt, David Isaacs and Juanita Brown, courtesy of The World Cafe, provides some excellent guidelines.

NOTE!!! This discussion is intended to be about the range of topics we might want to focus on ONLY.

It is NOT intended to be the place where we actually HAVE those discussions.  If something that is proposed here grabs you, by all means start a thread about it in Member-Initiated Discussions.  Or, if it's a really big and juicy subject, perhaps you might even want to start a group to discuss it--each group has its own forum, as well as "pages" that can be created and edited together.

Thanks for helping us keep our discussions organized.  And thanks for all the great energy and ideas that you have been posting here so far!


Views: 1757

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

It's an entry point at least. But I am not persuaded that somehow reforming capitalism or tinkering with it merely to make it less pecuniary, less iniquitous and less inequitable is the best, certainly it isn't the only, trail to follow. It may be one trail, but there are many others that need to be explored as well. Perhaps each of them will lead to some clearing where we can meet and converse collectively in good faith about the future for all of us, including the vast number of voiceless species who make it possible for us to inhabit this blue planet

The only sustainable form of capitalism that I can imagine is a much more local version of it. The free market fundies like to point to Adam Smith as some sort of visionary of our current version, but the original version of his classic was more about local economies.

In any case, I would distinguish between entrepreneureship and capitalism. In fact, there is no version of classical capitalism as I am familiar with it that is not oxymoronic with sustainability, i.e. there is no version of our current capitalist economy that is not suicidal in nature. As long as usury exists along with the monetization of all forms of assets, we are headed to extinction.

Yes. We will serve Mother Earth by cutting back on our material desires, localizing our needs, such as food, energy, clothing & shelter. Capitalism has resulted in our society (5% of the world's population) using 25% of the resources used on Earth, with a resulting decline in overall happiness.

As far as US currency is concerned, we can explore the reemergence of local money & barter systems.

A review of "Local Money"

This movement is also being expressed in a local trend known as transition towns.



I agree that "capitalism" and "sustainable" sound like opposing and irreoncilable forces.  but reigning in the plutonomy, unwinding its grip not only on the US governmnet but other democratic governments throughout the world, means somehow , means having a discussion we have never had since the framing of our U.S. consitution.and those of other "free nations".about the separation of state and business on the one hand and about the basis for limitations that we must put in place and keep in place to prevent undo influence and control by external private interests. 

I think for the past two decades in America at least it has been assumed that what is good for business is good for the growth means more jobs and more opportunity..and historically businesses have been the vehicle through which public policy and public works have been implemented ( buildimg railroads, dams, brudges, highways tec.). 

We never anticpated capitalism completely unharnessing itself  from local national or even global interests to pursue profit  through speculation ( as is done in the derivatives markets)

So it seems to me that now the back lash that can give rise to toppling the plutonomy is actually happening, we have to have that conversation that we have never had about the place of"'capitalism" in democracy.

Lindsey, the conversation you are referring to is already happening in the form of action on the ground. It's also happening in the form of another conversation about sustainability. And beyond even that, thriving.

When you say business growth creates jobs, you are referring to the growth of debt and the monetization of services and resources. A deepening trap in which we now find ourselves.

There it is again ... beyond sustainabilty ... there is thriving!

Hi Aerin,

Enjoyed your website.

I especially enjoyed the post on "financial thrivability" and think the idea of "financial thrivability" a core idea..a core stratgey not just for non-profits but for growing new businesses..which will thrive and grow .and provide new opportunity for others.

Public jobs programs and economic growth programs tend to focus on big numbers and one shot "solutions".   Historically and in the future the majority of new jobs created will be in small new start ups and growing existing small local businesses through change and transition.  "Financial Thrivability" and all  that means is the target to shoot for in "Sustainable Capitalism" .

Thanks again for the many fruitful and fructifying ideas at your web site.


Hello again David.


.I did track down Fred Magdoff and thank you for pointing me in his direction.  At his website an essay called "Where Are The Jobs" is very insightful and puts the crisisin which we are all caught  in a long term perspective of how it we got here and what it means right now for the possibilities of addressing the issues of jobs, debt and opportunity .

As I have delved deeply into issues that are about the plight of the 99% for my own blogs and for conversations at TED it has become apparent that what got us here didn't happen over night.didn't start in 2008.  It's been happening for decades.  The collapse of the housing bubble was just the moment in the Wizard of Oz when we finally saw behind the curtain..when we finally saw..when we finally got that we are the disenfranchised 99% .

For a recent piece at TED ( on the contribution of pure speculation to the food crisis) I had to delve deep into derivatives ( the instruments which caused the housing bubble) and felt like I was staring at the apocalypse..our central banks, our governments are so frighteningly deeply co-entangled with "pure speculation" and its effect on us in food and energy costs is staggering.

The "occupiers" have just awakened to the reality that they don't have and most likely won't have their piece of the pie and to why that is..but unwinding what is behind it is truly monumental.  It took three decades of concerted effort by the plutonomy to get this have usurped the sovereignty of every free nation.. 

The grip and control  of the putonomy is global..we truly are living in a global world with a global economy.  No nation can truly control its own detiny through its own governance.  It's in the context of that gobal economy that any nation must address opportunities for job creation, for education for the jobs of tomorrow, for getting out from under the burden of student loan , mortage and credit card debt.

Fred Magdoff lays some of that out in stark and relaistic terms in his article "Where Are The Jobs" 


Thanks for the mention of Fred's article on jobs.

Here's another Magdoff piece that addresses the connection between "globalization" and food sufficiency. Though it was written in 2008, it is even more relevant today:

The availability of food, especially nutritious, non-GMO, pesticide-free food, is, in my view, the principal issue and most vexing, contentious problem we face in the upcoming decade. Food and food-related matters will come to dominate the political/social/economic agenda, not only in the "rest of the world", but even here in the US. And we aren't even close to addressing it creatively and sensibly. As long as, the literal, figurative and financial landscape of food production, processing and distribution is in the control of, or even dominated by the giant, multi-national corporations like Monsanto and Cargill, no real progress toward sanity and equity will be possible.

Another thinker/writer/philosopher who is addressing the hairball convergence of all issues at once is John Michael Greer. Here is a link to his blog: Don't be put off by the name

His most recent book is The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if

great phrase "hairball convergence"  that's exactly what I see on every global issue I look at..most especially food security ...


may I borrow that phrase?


and i think it is very importantthat we consider what that means.."hairball convergence"


ps what I can read of your comment ends at as,  is there more after that?

Hi Lindsay,


Yes there was more but it got cut off a little here it is:

Unless the ever-burgeoning armada of global corporate and financial buccaneers is required to pay some sort of “tribute” to the commons, IOW, to have some requirement that their activities contribute to some larger communal and whole-societal benefits that is taken directly off the top from their ‘profits”, then we will have an on-going world society that is in perpetual crisis and disharmony. In a system in which everything fundamental to human and planetary existence, from food and water to basic health care is commoditized and monetized, there will exist always the real potential for either mass upheaval or mass extinctions.

Also apparently the rest of the title of Greer's book was cut off:

the whole title is: The Wealth of Nature: Economics As if Survival Mattered...


Sure, you can use the phrase if you like.....

[Cross posted to Michelle's blog]

YES YES YES!!!!  I totally concur with the vision of massively distributed (and often small-scale) face-to-face gatherings inspired by the movement.  I see the heart of OWS as a conversation, or an inquiry, not an organ for issuing demands.  You can read more of my views on that here:  And from what I could glean when I visited OWS on Friday, that sentiment is widely shared there.
SO... As you know, I am co-creating Occupy Cafe ( to offer dynamic virtual space for this conversation/inquiry to spread, rooted in powerful questions like Peter Blocks (LOVE HIM!) above.  In addition to our interactive phone calls and online network, I DO envision a face-to-face component emerging.  Virtual is very powerful, and it is way more so when it integrates with f2f.  This movement is a perfect example--it doesn't exist without the power of the internet to connect people, but its heart beats on the ground.  
The "living room" idea seems very workable to me.  One way we could try it out would be to invite people to convene small groups to participate together in Occupy Cafe calls.  When we go to breakouts, they can do one themselves.  Or they can all stay in the "main room" for the large group dialogue with that hour's special guest "conversation starter" (btw, will you be one of our guests sometime soon, please?).
This is all so VERY EXCITING!  I will cross post this to the Occupy Cafe Forum where you mentioned this blog as well (
Thanks for your energy and brilliance, Michelle!

Michelle Holliday said:

This conversation inspired a blog post called Occupy Your Dining Room: Hosting the Revolution.  Would love to know your thoughts - especially you, Ben.  I think there's a role for Occupy Cafe in there.


Weekly Cafe Calls

Regular Calls are no longer being held.  Below is the schedule that was maintained from the Fall of 2011 through Jan 10, 2013.

"Vital Conversations" 

8-10a PDT | 11a-1p EDT | 3-5p GMT 

Tuesdays (except 10/16)
"Connect 2012"

1-3p PDT | 4-6p EDT | 8-10p GMT

"Occupy Heart" 

3-5p PDT | 6-8p EDT | 10p-12a GMT

Latest Activity

Clay Forsberg posted a blog post

"Happy Birthday Occupy Wall Street ... thoughts on Year One"

Fifteen years ago, I ran across a book, "100 Most Influential People in History," during one of my dalliances to my local Marin County bookstore. "Influential People" was one man's assessment on exactly that. But how he determined his rankings was the interesting part. They weren't always the reasons you would think. But after thinking about it, they made complete sense. For example:George Washington was ranked in the top 40 of all time. Understandable. But the reason why ... not so much. You…See More
Sep 20, 2012
Clay Forsberg is now a member of Occupy Cafe
Sep 20, 2012
Vic Desotelle posted a group

Leadership Ecology

When a Leadership Ecology occurs, a web of relationships emerges revealing each person’s authentic leadership qualities through the transfer of their power to others. When done in a conscious way – a shared collaborative awakening happens.See More
Feb 6, 2012
Vic Desotelle posted a blog post
Feb 3, 2012


  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2024   Created by Occupy Cafe Stewards.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service